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Simulating MindsThe Philosophy, Psychology, and Neuroscience of Mindreading$
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Alvin I. Goldman

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195138924

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0195138929.001.0001

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The Child‐Scientist Theory

The Child‐Scientist Theory

(p.69) 4 The Child‐Scientist Theory
Simulating Minds

Alvin I. Goldman (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Early childhood failures on false-belief tasks and related tasks lead many developmental psychologists to conclude that children (like scientists) undergo a succession of changes in their mental-state theories, especially changes from a non-representational to a representational theory. Early errors in belief attribution are viewed as the product of a “conceptual deficit” rather than performance limitations. Other evidence, however, suggests that performance factors like memory and inhibitory control problems are at least partly responsible. Recent experiments with reduced task demands enabled children as young as 15 months to show understanding of false belief. Child-scientist advocates usually hold that theoretical inference is used for both first-person and third-person mindreading, but there is evidence that undercuts first-person/third-person parallelism.

Keywords:   conceptual deficit, false-belief tasks, inhibitory control, parallelism, performance limitations

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